Mary D. Brooks Interview
Tell us a little about yourself and your work.
I live in Australia and have been writing for forty years including short fiction stories for various Australian & US magazines and some non-fiction articles. I wrote my first novel in 2000 and it got published in 2001. I work as a web and graphic designer when I’m not writing. In addition I’m the chief editor and owner of the AUSXIP News and Multimedia Network of sites. When I’m not writing, reading, creating art or designing new sites, I travel when the travel bug hits. I’ve only recently made the jump to opening up my own publishing company, AUSXIP Publishing, and it’s an exciting new area for me.
Where do you like to write?
I like writing anywhere I can get my hands on a desktop or a laptop, a comfy chair and that’s pretty much it.
Is there anything you must have in order to write? For example, silence, whiskey, and a close shave.
I like silence when I write but then it doesn’t really matter as I tune everything out anyway. I sit down with a cup of tea or coffee (depending on the time of day) and just write. Although a whiskey does sound good…
What books have influenced you most, both as a person and as an author?
“I Am Rosemarie” by Marietta D. Moskin was a HUGE influence on me about a 16 year old in a concentration camp and beyond. It opened my eyes about the holocaust and led me to other books.
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens – very different book to “I Am Rosemarie” but I love the message that it’s never too late to change. It’s one of my favourite books.
There are so many books that have influenced me but those two are high on the list.
What is the one thing that has helped you develop most as an author?
An awesome editor and someone I can bounce ideas off. That’s so important.
What do you want to achieve most from your writing?
I want to make the reader CARE about the characters and what they are going through. I want them to have a visceral reaction to what they are reading. I want them to emotionally invest in those characters.
Is there something specific you do to improve your writing?
There is always room for improvement in all areas of writing; I can’t say that I have mastered everything so I can’t pinpoint one area. As a writer, I feel I’m evolving and learning every day on how to convey what I want to say.
What is the ideal relationship between editor and author?
It is the KEY relationship, in my opinion. You need a strong bond between the author and the editor. I talk to my editor every day – even if it’s to bounce an idea off her or to comment on what I’ve written and the direction I want to take something. My editor is heaven sent because she loves and knows the characters so well. I believe it’s paramount to have a close relationship with an editor.
If you had a direct line to someone who loves your writing, what would you say?
Thank you for loving my writing and what parts stood out for you and why. What is about Character A or B that moved you.
If you had a direct line to someone who hates your writing, what would you say?
It’s unfortunate you didn’t enjoy my writing. What parts did you not enjoy and how do you think I could improve it? What parts of the story did you enjoy?
If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring author, what would it be?
Sit down, get comfortable and write. Write the story you have in your head. You can then find a good editor/beta readers who will give you feedback on how to make the story better. Take their advice and revise or build on it. Thinking about writing that story won’t ever result it actually happening unless you sit down and write it. Jump off that cliff and enjoy the ride.
What does your writing future hold for you?
I have no plans to slow down. I have written five novels and have plans for another three in the current series. I outlined a new series and the first two books from that series yesterday. Full steam ahead.
How have you set about the task of creating enticing cover art?
I’m a cover artist and have done over 500 covers for various publishing houses but I don’t do my own books. I leave my covers to AUSXIP Publishing’s Art Director Jazzy Trafficano who is an INCREDIBLE artist. When she created the cover for In The Blood of the Greeks, I was speechless. It was perfect. Jazzy is one of the most gifted artists I know and I’m thrilled to have her do my covers.
How often do you read? What genre?
I read all the time but not in the genre that I write. I enjoy murder mysteries, medical thrillers and other genres that grab my attention. I seldom, if ever, read historical romance novels when I’m writing.
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Best of luck in the future.
Thank you for asking me for this interview.
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